Aug 19, 2013, 8:33 PM EST
Still, there are some interesting reasons why the new look/old look Avs might surprise a few people next season.
First time charm
For several seasons, coaches have made the jump from lower levels of hockey to have immediate success behind NHL benches. Some have carried that strong work over beyond their first season in the league (examples: Dan Bylsma and Bruce Boudreau) while others flamed out (Guy Boucher), but a fresh voice has often helped teams make sudden gains in the wins column.
Of course, those guys have usually been coming from the AHL, not the QMJHL like Patrick Roy.
If nothing else, Colorado seems to have nowhere to go but up.
For one thing, 2013′s disaster allowed the Avs to select first overall, nabbing a potential blue chip in Nathan MacKinnon.
Their offense might be closer to full strength due to better circumstances, too. Ryan O’Reilly won’t be mired in contract squabbles. Gabriel Landeskog (hopefully) won’t deal with troubling concussion issues. The team also landed a potential coup by trading David Jones for Alex Tanguay, who still might have some gas in the tank at 33.
That previous section represented a potential boon for the Avalanche offense, but if that’s not enough, elements of human nature could spur success.
For one thing, with new management in place, few jobs are truly safe. Even if it’s merely a short-term boost, one can assume that players want to get in the good graces of Roy and Joe Sakic.
Beyond that, some significant players are entering contract years. O’Reilly, Semyon Varlamov, Paul Stastny, Steve Downie and Jamie McGinn are among the noteworthy guys who have a lot of money to gain or lose this season.
Naturally, plenty can go wrong. That’s especially true for a team that hasn’t been a contender for many years.
Still, there are some appealing reasons for fans to hope that the Avalanche could become a dark horse candidate in 2013-14.
More Avs day fun
- Crosby: If I had to guess Thornton’s suspension, I’d say 10 games 3
- Cowen gets two-game suspension for hit on Girgensons 12
- Rangers must consider Callahan’s injury history in contract talks 12
- The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Outrage over hockey violence, Gary Bettman is a happy man, Darryl Sutter is awesome, and more! 28
- Report: Isles coach Capuano not seen as problem 11
- Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Flyers challenge top-ranked Blackhawks 17
- Update: Ryan Callahan out 4-6 weeks with MCL sprain 15
- Four goals: Ovechkin wills Caps to stunning shootout win vs. Bolts 62
- Bettman: No decision on expansion, but they’re listening 13
- Neal admits kneeing Marchand was ‘not the smartest decision’ 80
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (138)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (118)